A Very Blasphemous Christmas Film List

Featuring movies I both have and haven’t seen.

Let’s say you’re the kind of person who prefers their Christmas light on the Christ. And also light on the mas(s).  Thankfully some parts of the world have accepted Christmas as part of the non-denominational holiday season- a time when we celebrate not the mis-dated birth of our Lord Jesus, but rather our love for one another. Our family, our friends, cozy nights, festive lights, and a rapacious culture of consumerism.

One of my favorite traditions for holiday togetherness is the Christmas movie, whether it’s on in the evening while I’m curled up on the couch or its just on in the background while I decorate the tree (just kidding, you have to play the Nutcracker Suite while you decorate the tree. It is written).

While I’m usually all ready for a trite and sentimental holiday story, sometimes you just need something a little more subversive. If that’s you, here’s your list.

Films I’ve Seen:

  • In Bruges: I honestly love In Bruges, a black comedy-crime featuring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson (my real Santa Claus) spewing a never-ending stream of swears and spirit.
  • Edward Scissorhands: This just treads the line with being actually Christmas-y, with the heartfelt themes of family, community, belonging, and the harm of isolation. But Johnny Depp has scissors for hands and Winona’s awesome.
  • The Life of Brian: Biggus Dickus. ‘Nuff said.
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: There are a lot of families for which LOTR is a real Christmas tradition, given that the films were released around the holidays. For me it’s because I found the box set under the tree as a child after Dad and I read the series together.  An Ent is the only real Christmas tree I need.
  • The Harry Potter Series: Actually tender and fuzzy feelings with delightful magic and Christmas scenes. But because evangelicals like to burn the books, the series gets a spot on this list. *Christmassiness declines as the series progresses.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas: Multiple songs with references to murdering Santa.

Films I’ve Yet To See:

  • Eyes Wide Shut: Tom Cruise on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery. Kay.
  • Gremlins: My plan is to get this one watched this year.
  • Die Hard: I didn’t finish this movie. I just don’t find it very interesting, mostly because of Bruce Willis. But if you can hang in there for Alan Rickman, do it.
  • The French Connection: There are a few more Christmas-adjacent gang/crime films (Blast of Silence is another), but I’ll put this one on as the representative. But watch In Bruges first. I vouch for it.
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Dead Men Tell No Tales (but I do)

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Spoilers ahead for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Not exactly a review, but a discussion and thoughts on different aspects of the film.

I saw the fifth installment of Pirates of the Caribbean (hereon called PotC for expediency’s sake) and you know what? It wasn’t nearly as bad as I anticipated. In fact, I kind of enjoyed it. Continue reading “Dead Men Tell No Tales (but I do)”

Top Films for Graphic Violence

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Don’t hate Quentin Tarantino; hate the game.

Actually that’s completely hypocritical of me; I can’t stand Tarantino’s particular brand of brutality. I made it through Pulp Fiction with only a feeling of resignation. And I think I stopped Kill Bill during the fight scene between Uma Thurman and Lucy Liu.
But Tarantino aside, blood and gore aren’t things I shy away from in movies.  I’m much more likely to avoid a movie focused on overblown and manipulative emotional scenes (i.e. why I haven’t watched Room yet) than a movie that unflinchingly shows blood and guts.

The criteria for this list? The film has to actually be good. No pain porn- an excellent plot is a necessity. The violence should enhance the plot, even if it does so a bit gratuitously.
No straight up horror.  That said, horror can be hard to define.
Lastly? Blood spatter.

And a disclaimer: I don’t claim to have seen all of the graphic films the world has to offer. I haven’t seen Sin City. Or Oldboy. Or Lady Vengeance. But what I’ve heard suggests that those might be at home on this list. Continue reading “Top Films for Graphic Violence”